AbleGamers Foundation, a charity that uses gaming to break down the barriers of economic and social isolation for people with disabilities, has announced its returning partnership with Train Jam for Train Jam 2018. AbleGamers will provide three video game developers with disabilities an all-expense paid three-day train ride where they will join other developers to create unique and exciting video games while en route to GDC 2018, the world’s biggest annual event for established and up-and-coming developers.
Train Jam 2018 starts Thursday, March 15th and departs at Chicago’s Union Station. It ends on Saturday, March 17th in San Francisco, followed by GDC 2018 (March 19-23).
Founded in 2013 by video game developer Adriel Wallick, Train Jam takes developers from diverse backgrounds and cultures beyond their comfort zones to push for creative inspiration outside of a regular office or home environment. Some of the industry’s best developers and promising game design students gather to show off their game development chops as they travel by train from Chicago to San Francisco. At the start of the trip, a game jam theme will be announced and participants will have 52 hours to form teams, conceptualize an idea and compete by creating a video game that best represents that theme.
Through its diversity initiatives, Train Jam encourages developers from marginalized communities within the game industry — from emergent territories, under-represented genders, minorities and those with disabilities — to submit their applications to attend the event. Through AbleGamers and Train Jam’s partnership, chosen applicants will have access to travel aid and special accommodations for varying disabilities. This includes an on-board American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, service animal accommodations, wheelchair accessibility and a caretaker or family member pass if required. Those selected will additionally have All Access passes to everything the GDC 2018 conference has to offer — from panels and technology showcases to demos of new and unreleased games.
“We’re so excited to partner with AbleGamers again for Train Jam 2018,” said Adriel Wallick, founder of Train Jam. “We strive to create an environment where developers from all different backgrounds can collaborate to create amazing games, and we’re beyond thrilled to be working directly with a charity that can help us achieve our vision. We look forward to supporting the three new developers AbleGamers chooses to join us for the event.”
“AbleGamers is proud to offer support of future game developers with disabilities through the wonderful Train Jam event,” said Steven Spohn, COO, AbleGamers. “Adriel and her team work tirelessly to help the developers of tomorrow of diverse backgrounds break into the industry and bring their ideas to life for everyone to enjoy.” Spohn continued, “It’s so difficult for developers with disabilities to find employment and growth opportunities in the videogame industry. Sponsoring three talented, next generation developers with the opportunity to get an extra edge at a bright future is one of our favorite initiatives.”
Video game developers, including aspiring first-time developers, with disabilities are encouraged to apply for AbleGamers’ sponsorship of Train Jam 2018. AbleGamers has limited travel stipends available on an as-needed basis to select sponsorees residing within the Continental United States.
The AbleGamers Train Jam sponsorship application form is available HERE. All applications will be considered until 11:59PM PT on December 3, 2017.